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Apparent Manifesto Reveals Racist Images, Rant; Sightings Of Escaped Killed At New York/Pennsylvania Border; Corrections Officer Placed On Administrative Leave. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 21, 2015 - 06:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning a day of healing in South Carolina. In a couple of hours, church services will begin at the AME Church for the first time since a gunman took the lives of nine people less than a week ago.

And we're learning more about that gunman from a manifesto he reportedly left behind. Why he says the Trayvon Martin case may have triggered those attacks.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: And breaking this morning, a new lead in the manhunt in New York for two convicted killers. Officials are shifting their search after police get a credible sighting.

BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. There will be Sunday services, imagine that, just days after this rampage, nine people killed, there will be Sunday services here in just a couple of hours.

KOSIK: And I'm Alison Kosik. I'm in Atlanta in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Alison, good morning. If you could see just over my shoulder here, the lights are on in the sanctuary. You can see them glowing through the stained glass windows and that is symbolic of an effort to heal today.

There will be Sunday services at 9:30 the first time since that massacre in the side the church basement. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, they're going to reopen those doors for the first time since Dylann Roof went into that church, sat with people for an hour and then opened fire on Wednesday.

Let's take you through what's happen today so you'll understand what's going to happen throughout this Sunday, 8:30 children will come to the church for Sunday school as children across the country will do.

One hour later a service will begin and that at 10:00 a.m., churches in Charleston and all across the country will ring their bells in unison, standing in solidarity with this congregation.

Then this evening at 7:45, hundreds, possibly thousands, as many as 3,000 expected to form a bridge of peace. They will join hands across altar, Ravenal Bridge, here in Charleston leads in Mt. Pleasant. It's in tribute to the nine people who lost their lives.

You know, it's been an incredibly emotional scene here. I was here yesterday with people who were kind of filing by the memorial. They've gathered throughout the weekend outside the church. Some leaving flowers, leaving notes and trying to console one another.

Some people just stand here and cry outside of the church. Others having conversations, sometimes they will be singing. There will be messages left here. Some leave with a deeper understanding, hopefully having some important conversations outside the church.

You know, today is about healing. There's going to be a balance that's difficult to strike this morning, but it's going to be in favor of the victims and remembering them.

But we have to take a closer look inside the mind of this confessed killer, Dylann Roof. A web site titled the last Rhodesian lists Roof as the owner and it includes several pictures of him.

He's posing with the confederate flag. There is one also where the American flag is being burned. He is a wearing a shirt with the numbers 88, a code for Heil Hitler. He's also holding the same type of gun reportedly used in the churched massacre.

And there is also a manifesto that hinted a plan to, quote, "take it to the real world." We got Nick Valencia here with me in Charleston following this story.

Nick, we want to get into the manifesto, but let's start with the name of this site, "The Last Rhodesian" and it significance.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, that is clearly a former segregated country, a racist agenda fueled by hatred and this seems that that is what this individual was courage by. We believe that this is the first insight into Dylann Roof's mind set, a demented logic, a racist agenda fuelled by hatred, and recent high profile shootings.


VALENCIA (voice-over): The pictures are startling. Confessed Charleston shooter, Dylann Roof, holds a burning American flag. He takes aim with a 45-caliber Glock pistol with a laser site. He holds a confederate flag. A website Roof owns titled "The Last Rhodesian," on it, a manifesto that captures the 21-year-old's troubling words.

"We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything, but talking on the internet." The document reads, "Well, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

Roof hint about why he chose Charleston to carry out the massacre that left nine members of the Emanuel AME Church dead calling Charleston the most historic city in my state.

[06:05:09] Roof who appeared in court Friday to face formal charges said he became transformed by the controversial Trayvon Martin case. "I was in disbelief," Roof writes, "How could the news be blowing the up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on white murders got ignored?"

It was not clear what he was referring to. This latest piece of a complicated puzzle may offer some insights for investigators, but it's no consolation for a community still reeling from the violence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Heartbreaking and my prayers definitely go out to the family. This is heartbreaking.


VALENCIA: New this morning we are hearing from the family of Trayvon Martin, that young man who was shot and killed. A statement reading in part, "It is very unfortunate that an individual with such a vile mind and clear criminal intent would dare seek to undermine our mission of peace in an attempt to destroy the legacy of our son, Trayvon Martin. Trayvon did not commit any crime nor did he murder anyone. He too was a victim" -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Nick, there are other photos here, one that I'll mention is the t-shirt with 88 on it because eight references the HH, H being the eighth letter of the alphabet. It reference Hiel Hitler, but there are photos that were on this web site.

VALENCIA: There are photos of him as we saw on this piece and we're looking at right now him with a confederate flag, him burning an American flag, him at the site of former slave plantations. There's an image of him writing 14 88 which is a sign of a really racist agenda.

You see here that gun reportedly is similar to the gun used in this shooting, really chilling images and insight that we're seeing into this 21-year-old man's life and what he wanted to achieve and accomplish here.

He believed that he was going to carry this out because this was a historic site for the black community, a site that carried a lot of significance and civil rights.

He said he chose Charleston because at one point the ratio of blacks to whites was the highest here in the United States. He believed carrying out the shooting here would cause tremendous damage in the community.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nick Valencia, thank you so much. Let's talk more about this manifesto and what we can learn here. Let's bring in Jeff Garder, a psychologist and professor of behavioral studies at Touro College in New York.

Jeff, good to have you. I first want to start with Roof's words. He wrote this, "I have no choice, someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me."

The use of the phrase "real world" when you're dealing with someone so delusional, it's striking to me. What does this tell you about his mind set?

JEFF GARDERE, PSYCHOLOGIST: This was someone who was obsessing about these race issues, the racial hatred that he had for such a long time. He felt that other people were not acting on it the way that he need to, that he had a unique understanding of it, Victor.

That in his mind he felt that he perhaps had the answer, had the understanding and therefore was going to take it from his mind into the real world and wake up the rest of the world as to what was really going on.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk more about the shirt that I referenced a moment ago with 88, a reference to Heil Hitler, since h is the 8th letter of the alphabet. By his own description, he was not raised in a racist home.

We know that members of his family when they saw that picture of him that was put on television here on CNN and other networks on Thursday, they called in to saying that it was him. How do people self- radicalized with this racist ideology?

GARDERE: Well, they have no real significance in the world. They usually have been ignored in their own mind anyway and therefore, they find their own significance by latching onto something that they feel they can blame as to why they are a person who does not appear to have any real mission, any real worth.

So once they get onto this kind of idea, they use their delusion, they use their isolation as a way to become fully empowered by this, by the hatred, this racial hatred that we're seeing, so they just continue in that mission looking for anything and changing it to make it fit their own particular view.

BLACKWELL: All right, psychologist, Jeff Gardere, thank you so much.

[06:10:04] We are trying to have a rational conversation about something that is so irrational and try to have a conversation that's based on logic in something that is illogical.

But we'll try to walk you through as much as we're learning about at least the shooter's reason for what happened. But we will not allow this gunman to win and people hearsay they won't let him win either.

Last night, there was a large group of people who marched through Charleston to remember the victims. Watch and listen.


BLACKWELL: Hundreds of people walked down the streets of Charleston chanting that black lives matter. They marched to the daughters of the confederacy building where they hung a banner with the names of the nine people who were killed.

Tonight, and I mentioned this earlier, hundreds maybe thousands will join hands across the Ravenal Jr. Bridge here in Charleston in tribute to the nine people who were killed here earlier this week. I'll be here all this morning as we wait for the doors of Mother Emanuel to open, the oldest black church not in South Carolina, but across the south. You see the lights here at the sanctuary. They are open. You can see now that the sun is coming up.

But they are on in the sanctuary. We'll have much more coverage coming up, including this huge march in Columbia, South Carolina last night. Hundreds of people marched there to the capital demanding that the confederate flag be removed.

Also, we are covering breaking news this morning in another story, a new lead in that manhunt in New York for the two convicted killers who escaped. Officials are shifting their search area after police get what they call, a possibly credible sighting. Stay with us.



BLACKWELL: Good morning. I'm Victor Blackwell live outside Mother Emanuel in Charleston, the scene of that horrific shooting. Nine people killed here several days ago, but today is about healing. For the first time since that shooting, there will be Sunday worship here.

Children will come here for Sunday school. There will be a ceremony. There will be the regular worship service this morning. Later tonight, there will be a march for peace. Thousands expected. We'll talk more throughout the morning.

I want to go back to Alison Kosik in Atlanta where she is following some breaking news this morning in the search for those two escaped convicts -- Alison.

KOSIK: Good morning, Victor. We'll get right back to you in just a bit because there is something new happening right now, a new lead in the manhunt for two escaped prisoners in New York. This morning police helicopters and heavily-armed officers are swarming a small town in southwestern New York, hoping for a new and credible sighting, hoping that will lead them to Richard Matt and David Sweat.

Those are the two fugitives who were serving time for murder who escaped from prison more than two weeks ago. CNN has reporters across the state covering all the latest developments. CNN's Sara Ganim is live outside the prison in Dannamora and Cristina Alesci in the Allegany County, the so-called "hot five" in the search.

Cristina, let's go ahead and start with you. It's been several hours since they -- these officials have gone out on these tips. Have they found anything?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alison, you mentioned it. They have a credible sighting. We don't know what specific evidence has led them to believe that this particular sighting is credible. But we do know there is heavy police presence here.

Just as the sun was coming up, about two dozen vehicles took off from where I'm standing right now, which is the staging area for this particular area. We are seeing lots of police presence here. There's no doubt that the search will continue. Take a listen.


ALESCI (voice-over): Police helicopters and heavily-armed law enforcement swarmed the town along the New York-Pennsylvania state line searching for two escaped killers. Residents in the area on alert this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They told us to stay home, lock your doors and windows.

ALESCI: The latest twist in the hunt for Richard Matt and David Sweat, takes the authorities hundreds of miles away from the Clinton Correctional Facility, where the men escaped two weeks ago.

Police responded to unconfirmed sighting along a railroad mine near Friendship, New York just north of the Pennsylvania border. They're now following up on all tips including this one phoned into the fire department.

UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Female passenger, dark hair, with two males reported to match the description of the escaped prisoners David Sweat and Richard Matt.

ALESCI: There have been no arrests in the manhunt. Police are manning checkpoints in a search area they reportedly called a hot spot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you go to Little Friendship, they are turning you around and attending the other way so you have to identification that you live here. So they are taking some pretty good safety precautions.

ALESCI: The U.S. Marshall Service added Matt and Sweat to a list of the 15 most wanted fugitive this week and is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to their capture. Officials are warning do not approach them. They are considered to be very dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Troopers show up, set up the roadblock.

ALESCI: How long have they been out there in front of your house?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four or more, four or five hours, stopping every car.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, if we see them and they come up on our porch or in our lawn, we're going to protect ourselves, you know?


ALESCI: Alison, you know, up until today, up until yesterday really, police were vague about how the search was going, and then yesterday, we got a very specific press release with this specific area in mind. So the search is going to continue. There have been no updates since the press release last night, but I'll be certainly following this very closely today.

KOSIK: -- Ganim who has the latest on another developing story in all of this, a corrections officer who was placed on administrative leave as part of the investigation into the escape. Sara, what do you have?

SARA GANIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Alison. As that search continues the investigation here in Dannamora, where the escape actually happens, that continues as well.

[06:20:02] The district attorney going on Fox News last night talking about a corrections officer, who we know has been placed on administrative leave for some kind of role that was played in this escape. He is now the second person from inside the prison, second worker to be implicated in some way in this escape.

Last week prison seamstress Joyce Mitchell charged with facilitating an escape and also with promoting prison contraband. Officials say that she brought them some tools that were used to break out of the jail.

But the district attorney last night going on Fox News elaborating a little bit on this male corrections officer, who is now also under investigation. Take a listen to what he said last night.


ANDREW WYLIE, DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CLINTON, NEW YORK: This correction officer has been interviewed all day long, cooperating with the authorities and providing information to us relative to his involvement with Sweat and Matt.


GANIM: Now the district attorney also told affiliate, WPTV, that the charges against that corrections officer if there are any filed would also be facilitating an escape and promoting prison contraband.

Alison, I also just want to mention that authorities here have not abandoned their search for these two inmates. They are continuing to walk trails and along railroad lines that lead out of town here closer to the prison in upstate New York.

They also continue to search abandoned homes in this area. They have not abandoned this search as they move onto follow other credible leads in other parts of the state -- Alison.

KOSIK: OK, especially because this is the kind of story that is changing minute by minute. We will check in later in the hour with you. Sara Ganim, Cristina Alesci, thanks.

CNN law enforcement analyst, Tom Fuentes joins us now for more to get a little bit more background on what's going on. You know, you look at these sightings, Tom, three of them since last Saturday. Is this the kind of thing that's expected, are they legit or could they really be getting close to finding these guys? TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, they don't know. That's why they have to check every single one out. Early on, when they said they had 800 leads, then close to a thousand, now 1,500. What they are talking about is, you know, the first hundred or 200 leads are everybody that they can identify that were in the lives of Matt and Sweat.

Family, friends, colleagues, former people in jail with them, anybody that might be in a position to provide assistance once they're out of the jail, but the next 600 leads, if you will, or the rest of the leads start to come in like this.

They are sightings, the police go. They talk to the person making the claim of having seen somebody who might be them. Then they look at what they're describing, how old were the people, how far away, was it daylight, did you get a good look at them.

And then try to determine if it looks like, it's a pretty incredible meaning that the person seems to be truthful, it seems to be truthful, it's a good lead then they devote the resources. This will happen all the time and all over sometimes simultaneously in different states where people make sightings that could be real.

KOSIK: How prepared do you think is this small city -- how prepare is it for a search like this?

FUENTES: They are not prepared whatsoever. The police come in and help the small city and help the residents who are going to have to be locked down for a while and you know, do everything they can to help them. Not to mention, if you're bringing in hundreds of police officers, how are you going to feed them, where are you going to house them, shelter them, assist them, where's the command post going to be?

What will be the phone communications coming in and out of there? Do they have adequate cell tower coverage in that area? So there are a number of issues that come up when you're in a very rural area trying to conduct a massive search like this will be.

KOSIK: All right, two weeks and counting, these escaped convicts have been out there. Tom Fuentes, thanks for your analysis.

FUENTES: You're welcome.

KOSIK: And we'll stay on top of that story. In the meantime, though, let's go back to Victor Blackwell who is live in Charleston -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Alison, thanks. In just a couple of hours, the doors of the Emanuel AME Church here in Charleston will reopen and Sunday service will begin. Reverend Clementa Pinckney was the pastor here. He died in that tragic attack here on Wednesday.

His inspiring voice, that baritone has been silenced, but his message lives on. Reverend Pinckney's friend is going to join me to share how his lifelong work is helping to heal this congregation and the message he's hoping for today.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We pray that you would make Emanuels of all of us, that we may be filled with your love. For we know that only love can conquer hate. Only love can bring all together in your name.


BLACKWELL: The sanctuary here at Emanuel Ame will open again today. But the man you saw there, Clementa Pinckney, will not be at the pulpit. And a lot of people here are coming to terms with that and they will face that in a very real way today.

Only love can conquer hate. Those are words attributed to Dr. King, rightfully so, but Reverend Clementa Pinckney didn't just speak those words, his friends say he truly lived it.

And for years, his congregation here at Mother Emanuel as it's called would come together on Sundays and other days of the week I'd imagined and here Pinckney's deep resonant voice sharing that message.

We've got with us a friend of his, Barry Knighton, and I thank you for speaking with us. This undoubtedly has been a difficult time and our condolences. You've lost a friend. We've heard about Clementa Pinckney the pastor, we've heard about Clementa Pinckney the state senator. Tell me about the friend.

BARRY KNIGHTON, FRIEND OF REVEREND CLEMENTA PINCKNEY: Clementa was an awesome friend. He was an awesome mentor. He was the type of person if you were down he would take his hand and he would bring you back up. He was all about encouraging people. He was all about strengthening people. He was all about uplifting your spirit making you feel special.

I think in coming in contact with him, you know, even as a senator, as a pastor, you want to respect him as a pastor and a senator, but he made you feel just as much special, you know, with that roman voice and that handshake and just a look in the eye and just let you know that you were somebody, that you were important, and that just really characterizes his personality.

BLACKWELL: And sometimes when you deal with people who have titles, pastor, state senator, it's difficult to get past those titles, but we were talking during the break, the most important, husband, father, there is two young girls.